Bipolar Disorder, sometimes also called manic depression, is characterized by intense, persistent mood swings ranging between depression and mania–euphoria, poor judgment, and extreme risk-taking activity.
Onset usually occurs in mid-to-late adolescence, cases in children are rare.
1 to 3% of the population may have bipolar disorder. Males and females are affected equally.
These moods are greatly intensified or clearly different from the child’s usual personality and are far out of proportion to events in the environment in intensity and/or duration.
The child experiences the typical signs of depression – helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness – and the signs of mania – grandiosity and exuberance.
The disorder may be genetic and caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Bipolar disorder is treatable, but managing the episodes of depression and mania is a lifelong undertaking. Medication can help to moderate the symptoms.